Did you know that acupuncture is the second most-used therapy on earth? It has been used for thousands of years on billions of people throughout the world.
How it Works
Despite extensive research, the exact mechanism of how acupuncture works is still unknown. One of the areas acupuncture is best-known for is resolving pain, and in this regard it may be the result of
- Stimulating the body’s healing processes
- Improving blood flow
- Relaxing tight muscles
- Releasing endorphins
- Reducing inflammation
or a combination of these.
However, acupuncture is used for many conditions other than pain. On a more general level, one of the best ways to understand how acupuncture works is to think of the acupuncture points as tiny controls for the body, that can be turned up or down to adjust the way the body is behaving. There are many hundreds of these points, and over thousands of years we have learnt the ways they influence the body.
What Can it be Used For?
Acupuncture is known for resolving pain, however this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what conditions it can treat. As a small sample, is has been proven to be effective for anxiety, fatigue and nausea related to many chronic diseases, hayfever, morning sickness, etc. Many health practitioners may also recommend acupuncture as an adjunct treatment that may assist with IVF.
How Accepted is Acupuncture?
Acupuncturists as Health Professionals
- Acupuncturists must complete a 4 year full-time degree. These are usually a Bachelor of Health Science through private accredited colleges or a university such as Charles Sturt University, Southern Cross University, University of New England, University Of Western Sydney, University of South Australia, and the La Trobe University
- They are registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), which is the government authority responsible for registration of doctors, pharmacists, dentists, podiatrists, etc.
- Acupuncture treatments are covered under Workcover
- Acupuncturists must also be registered with a professional Association, who ensure they are properly qualified, adhere to a professional Code of Conduct, and undertake Continuing Professional Development studies. (They also arrange for them to be registered with health funds.)
As a result, acupuncturists are coming to be recognised as genuine health professionals.
The federal government performed a review of the evidence of effectiveness for all natural therapies, and in 2019 stopped health funds from covering any natural therapies except acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, remedial massage, and myotherapy, as there was strong evidence for the effectiveness of these treatments. (An appeal has been lodged in relation to naturopathy, as the latest evidence was not used in this regard, and naturopathy is likely to be also added to therapies health funds can cover.)
Medical services are exempt from GST, and acupuncture, naturopathy and herbal medicine are all specifically listed as exempt services in the GST Act.
Acupuncture is of course widely used in hospitals in many Asian countries, especially China. (There is a hospital in Japan which only uses acupuncture.) However it is also used in many hospitals in western countries such as the United Kingdom, USA, Sweden, and in some hospitals in a limited capacity in Australia (including 2 in Brisbane).
Acupuncture to be Covered under Medicare?
The Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association (AACMA) has approached the federal government to include acupuncture in the Chronic Disease Management Program. Under this Program, doctors can refer a patient to an allied health therapist, and Medicare covers part of the cost of the treatment.
Considerable research evidence was provided to the Chief Medical Officer on the management of pain by acupuncture, and especially chronic pain. As a result, he has recommended an application to the Federal Minister for Health for acupuncture to be included. So as a proven drug free alternative, acupuncture is being looked at favourably for the management of pain. The withdrawal of codeine as an over the counter medication, and the potential opioid crisis, have each made acupuncture an even more attractive option.
How Old is Acupuncture?
The earliest written records of acupuncture are around 200 BC, making it one of the oldest health care systems in the world. However there is some evidence that the practice is much older than that. Sharpened stones and long sharpened bones appear to have been used around 6,000 BC for acupuncture treatment.
Also, the body of a 5,300 year-old man was discovered frozen in the Italian Alps in 1991. ‘Otzi’ was covered with 61 tattoos (including dot-like points around joints), which some researchers believe may have been used as an early form of acupuncture. Some lines and dots were directly over areas which suffered from degenerative diseases, and many corresponded to traditional acupuncture points. So a simple form of acupuncture may have been practiced in Europe over 5,000 years ago.
Different Types of Acupuncture
There are 2 main styles- Japanese and Chinese acupuncture. The Japanese style
- Involves post-graduate training and study once you have graduated as a Chinese acupuncturist
- Is normally much more gentle and comfortable than the Chinese. (Many people find their treatments quite relaxing, and some even fall asleep during them.)
- Is more in-depth, as there is usually a much more detailed assessment performed
- Has an emphasis on treating the causes of the problem as well as the symptoms
- The skill level required is much higher than for Chinese acupuncture, but when done correctly it is often more effective
Our Therapists and Treatments
All of our acupuncturists use the Japanese style, We also only use the finest quality, pre-sterilised, disposable needles, which are made in Japan rather than in China. (These needles are hair-thin and designed for maximum comfort as well as effectiveness.)
If you have a health issue and would like to find out if acupuncture can resolve it, we offer a free Comprehensive Assessment. (Terms and conditions- the Assessment is a completely free service, with no obligations whatsoever.) Please call us on 3376 6911 if you have any questions at all, or ring or book online if you would like to make an appointment.